Former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account has been reinstated following a permanent ban in January 2021.
On Friday, new Twitter owner Elon Musk posted a poll asking if Trump should be allowed back on the platform. Just over 15 million people voted, with 51.8% voting in favor of reinstating Trump on Twitter.
As of July 2022, when Twitter filed its last quarterly earnings report before going private, the platform has about 237.8 million monetizable daily active users. Yet when Musk’s impromptu poll ended on Saturday with a small fraction of the user base taking part, Trump’s account was unbanned.
“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated. Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, quoting a Latin phrase that translates to “the voice of people, the voice of God.”
Meanwhile, the former president announced this week that he will run for the nation’s highest office once again in 2024.
Trump’s controversial ban took place days after the January 6 riots on the U.S. Capitol, in which insurrectionists violently attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter wrote in a January 2021 blog post.
Since taking over Twitter mere weeks ago, Elon Musk has already reversed suspensions on two high-profile accounts that were deplatformed for maliciously misgendering trans people: conservative satire publication The Babylon Bee and Jordan Peterson. He also reversed the ban on Kathy Griffin, a comedian who had impersonated Musk on Twitter.
When Musk initially announced his bid to take over Twitter, he had voiced his support for overturning the permanent ban on the former president. Now that he owns the company, Musk is using his own Twitter account to announce updates to platform policy.
“New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,” Musk tweeted yesterday before starting his poll about Trump’s account. “Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.”
Already in his tenure, Musk has gone back and forth on the implementation of new features, so it’s challenging to take his word as the end-all-be-all with regard to how Twitter will handle content moderation. Yet Musk is certainly setting a precedent for his leadership at Twitter by allowing the results of a spontaneous day-long poll to dictate complex content moderation decisions.
Regardless, it is unclear whether the former president will actually return to Twitter. After he was deplatformed from mainstream social media networks like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, Trump created his own social platform called Truth Social. One of Truth Social’s main selling points is that Trump actively uses it.
“Vote now with positivity, but don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere. Truth Social is special!” the former president posted on Truth Social this evening, referencing Musk’s Twitter poll.
Truth Social debuted on iOS in February with a glitchy launch, using uncredited source code from Mastodon. For the next several months, the app struggled to get approved on Google Play, since Google reportedly found numerous posts that violated its Play Store content policies. Internally, Truth Social’s parent company, the Trump Media and Technology Group, is struggling to complete a proposed merger to go public via SPAC.
As of September, data from SensorTower shows that about 3.7 million users had downloaded the Truth Social app.
This story is developing…